Liverpool are widely reported to have lodged a major bid for Manchester United target Darwin Nunez, but there are some reasons to remain hopeful that the reports could be untrue.
Darwin is one of the hottest properties on the transfer market this summer after a season in which he lit up the Portuguese league, scoring 34 goals in 41 games for Benfica.
United were reported last week to have submitted a bid for the player of €75 million in cash installments plus €20 million in bonuses plus an exchange player worth €10 million.
This was reportedly rejected by the Eagles, who wanted a bigger cash portion and for the player exchange to be removed from the deal.
United then seemed to be gazumped on the deal yesterday when news broke that Liverpool were set to offer €80 million plus €20 million in bonuses.
As we reported here, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano was one of those to report the planned bid by United’s rivals.
This was corroborated this morning by one of Portugal’s more respected football outlets, O Jogo, who added that “In England, it should also be noted that Darwin is already aware of Liverpool’s proposal, showing himself to be totally receptive to heading to the Beatles’ city club.”
Correio de Manha note that CMTV pundit Nuno Dias has also stated that the “€100 million proposal is already at the Estadio da Luz.”
However, one thing that is curious about this story is the Liverpool Echo’s insistence that the Anfield club would not pay such an amount.
Having made the claim earlier this week, the Echo repeated it again late last night, saying:
“The Reds have ramped up their interest in the 22-year-old Uruguay international.
“While it is understood Nunez would prefer a move to Anfield, Liverpool are reluctant to do business at Benfica’s asking price of €100million (£85.5m) and won’t be drawn into a bidding war.
“Reports in Portugal, though, have indicated Benfica could be receptive to a structured deal which would see Liverpool pay an €80m (£68.4m) set fee with €20m (£17.1m) in add-ons.
“It’s also claimed Nunez is being offered a five-year contract.”
Another question mark over the story is the CMTV report, since another pundit on the same channel had claimed last week that United had made that €105 million bid.
It is possible, therefore, that the impending Liverpool ‘offer’ is an exaggeration put about by sources in Portugal, either from within the Lisbon club or by Darwin’s camp, to try to instigate the bidding war that neither United nor Liverpool want.
Time will tell of course but right now, there certainly needs to be more corroboration from the Liverpool end before it is safe to believe that the deal is as close as has been reported.